Make It Easy for Readers to Find Your Message

Do you ever spend hours crafting the perfect message and finding that no one responds? Whether it’s a direct mail piece, email, or online ad promoting a webinar or membership renewal, you need to make sure that your call to action (CTA) is obvious.

In “How to Write Copy Your Audience Will Read,” the author suggests the following to create more effective messages:

  • Position your CTA at the top of your communications—don’t make readers scroll.
  • Use formatting such as bullet points, bold copy and headlines to highlight points you don’t want your audience to miss.
  • Simplify your copy. Don’t bury your main point in a paragraph of information. Shorten your copy so it is focused and relevant—avoid big blocks of text and use direct, active language.

Most importantly, be sure to communicate the value of what you are asking your audience to do. Show how your membership, event, or product meets your audience’s needs or provides a solution to a problem.

Other tips are offered by the Forbes Communications Council in “16 Ways to Create Clear, Engaging and Relevant Content for Your Target Audience.”

  1. Know your audience.

The No. 1 way to know if your copy is clear, engaging and relevant to your audience is to know your audience. Know your audience well. What’s important to them? What media do they consume and at what frequency? Why do they consume it? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to tailor your content to them in a relatable and understandable way.

  1. Tell a story.

It is mostly trial and error. Engagement and relevance are very subjective these days; however, the emotional element in an article always connects with the audience. Try to tell a story. It always works.

  1. Create a review process.

Implement a thorough review process in which multiple individuals within the organization review copy and confirm that the language used is inclusive of not only your direct, but also your indirect, audience.

  1. Use strong verbs.

Always think about your audience. If you have a clear idea of whom you are speaking to, you will understand how to modify the voice of your copy. Once you do that, read it out loud, and check for typos and repeated words. In addition, look for ways to use strong, impactful verbs to give your copy clarity and zing.

Some of the Forbes contributors suggested reading copy out loud:

  • Draft the copy. Then read it out loud. The wordy, clumsy or jargony areas will become painfully obvious. Also, focus on WIIFM—“what’s in it for me”—and speak directly to the target audience and showcase the importance and benefit of what you are communicating.
  • Pretend you’re reading it to family and friends. When you’re doing that, pretend you’re reading it to someone in your target audience, whether that be your child, your friend or your mom. Does it sound like a real conversation you would have with that person? If not, scrap it and start again.

For the complete list from the Forbes Communications Council, click here.